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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

The External Romance

Very early, life has typed by the first to ignore and distrust the deepest yearnings of our heart. Life, for the most part, teachers asked to suppress our longing in living only in the external world where efficiency and performance are everything.

We have learned from our parents and peers, at school, at work, and even from our spiritual mentors that something else is wanted from as other down our heart, which is to say, that which is most deeply in us. Very seldom are we ever invited to live out of our own heart? If we are wanted, we are often desired for what we can offer functionally. If rich, we are on for our welt Semite: if beautiful, for our looks, if intelligent, for our brains. So we are to offer only those parts of us that are approved, living out a carefully crafted performance to gain acceptance from those who represent life to us. We divorced ourselves from our heart and began to live a double life. Fredrick Buccaneer expresses this phenomenon in his ire graphical work, Telling Secrets:

"Our original shimmering self-gets buried so deep, we hardly live out of it at our… Rather, we learn to live out all the other cells which we are constantly putting on and taking of like coats and hats against the world's weather."

On the outside, is the external story of our lives. This is the live everyone sees, are the life of work and play in church, family, and friends, paying bills, and growing older. Our external story is where the carve out the identity most others now. It is the place where we have learned to label each other in a way that implies we have reached our final destination. Harry is an accountant; Mary works for the government; Dale is an attorney. The Smiths are the family with the well-kept lawn and lovely children; the chances are that family whose are always in trouble. Here, busyness substitutes for meaning, efficiency substitutes for creativity, and functional relationships substitute for love. In the outer life, we live from art ( a disease I opt to do this), rather than from desire (I want to do this) and the management substitute for mystery. There are three steps to a happy marriage, first fire ways to improve your portfolio, seven habits for success.

There is a spiritual dimension to this external world in our desire to do good works, but communion that activity for a guide replaces guard. There is little time in this outer world for in-depth questions. Given the right plan, everything in life can be managed except your heart.

The Sacred Romance calls to us every moment of our lives. It whispers to us on the wind, invites us through the laughter of good friends, reaches out to us through the touch of someone we love. We’ve heard it in our favorite music, sensed it at the birth of our first child, been drawn to it while watching the shimmer of a sunset on the ocean. It is even present in times of great personal suffering — the illness of a child, the loss of marriage, the death of a friend.

Something calls to us through experiences like these and rouses an inconsolable longing deep within our heart, wakening in us a yearning for intimacy, beauty, and adventure.

This longing is the most potent part of any human personality. It fuels our search for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive. However we may describe this deep desire, it is the most important thing about us, our heart of hearts, the passion of our life.

And the voice that calls to us in this place is none other than the voice of God.

We set out to discover if there is in the wide world out there a reality that corresponds to the world within our heart. Chesterton was right: Romance is the deepest thing in life; it is deeper even than reality.

Our heart is made for a great drama, because it is a reflection of the Author of that story, the grand Heart behind all things. We’ve seen how we lose heart when we lose the eternal Romance, which reminds us that God sought to bring us into His sacred circle from all eternity, and that despite our rejection of Him, He pursues us still. The Arrows and the Haunting both find their place in Act III of that drama, in which we now live. But this act is drawing to a close.

Our Lover has come to rescue us in the person of Jesus; He has set our heart free to follow Him up and into the celebration that begins the adventures of Act IV.

Where do we go from here? “This life,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “ought to be spent by us only as a journey towards Heaven.” That’s the only story worth living in now. The road goes out before us and our destination awaits. In the imagery of Hebrews, a race is set before us and we must run for all we’re worth. Our prayers will have been answered if we’ve helped to lift some of the dead weight so that your heart may rise to the call, hear it more clearly, respond with “eager feet.” Our final thoughts echo the advice found in Hebrews 12:2-3:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This marvelous passage is familiar to many of us, so lest we should become dull in its power due to its familiarity, consider Eugene Peterson’s translation from The Message:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Jesus remembered where He was headed and He wanted to get there with all His heart.

Excerpted from The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, copyright Brent Curtis and John Eldredge.


Your Turn

In quiet moments when your soul can speak to you, and even in the middle of the hustle bustle of daily life, do you find yourself longing for intimacy, beauty, and adventure? Are you searching for meaning, for wholeness, for a sense of being truly alive? Do you feel on this journey towards Heaven the rescue of Jesus? The pursuit by Him of you? Keep your eyes on Him! Come, share your thoughts with us on our blog. We would love to hear from you!


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